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Emergency department security programs, community crime, and employee assaults.

Blando JD; McGreevy K; O'Hagan E; Worthington K; Valiante D; Nocera M; Casteel C; Peek-Asa C
J Emerg Med 2012 Mar; 42(3):329-338
BACKGROUND: Violence against health care workers is a serious occupational health hazard, especially for emergency department (ED) employees. A significant degree of variability in security programs among hospital EDs is present in part due to the absence of federal legislation requiring baseline security features. Nationally, only voluntary guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the protection of health care workers exist. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to examine ED security programs and employee assault rates among EDs with different financial resources, size, and background community crime rates. METHODS: This cross-sectional survey was conducted among large and small hospitals located in communities with low or high rates of community crime. Hospital financial data were collected through the state health department, and employee assault data were abstracted from hospital OSHA logs. Comparisons were made using a chi-squared or Wilcoxon test. RESULTS: Small hospitals located in towns with low community crime rates implemented the fewest security program features despite having the second highest rate of assault-related OSHA-recordable injuries among ED employees (0.66 per 100,000 staff hours). CONCLUSION: Due to the highly stressful workplace characteristics of EDs, the risk of employee assault is universal among all hospital sizes in all types of communities.
Emergency care; Emergency responders; Employee health; Health care facilities; Health care personnel; Safety climate; Safety measures; Safety monitoring; Safety personnel; Law enforcement workers; Medical facilities; Medical personnel; Medical care; Personal protection; Health surveys; Risk analysis; Job stress; Injury prevention; Author Keywords: violence; assault; crime; security; OSHA
James Blando, PHD, Occupational Health Service, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, PO Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-007934; B06202012 Grant-Number-T42-OH-008491
Issue of Publication
Source Name
The Journal of Emergency Medicine
Performing Organization
University of Iowa
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division